Zack Ryder: More Serious Than You Know It (Bro)
by, 09-11-2011 at 02:18 AM (3326 Views)
Hello everybody, my first blog here but that doesn't matter. Let my opinions be judged for what they're worth.
I'm discussing Zack Ryder and his use of the Internet and social media to get himself noticed. Before he was featured in a blog post on this site way back about 12 weeks into Z:TLIS, I couldn't care less about him. But after watching more and examining his methods, I think he deserves a lot more credit and his recent push is quite deserved.
First off, I have no illusions that his character is silly and a goofball. A fruity purple-and-orange palette, oversize shades, that horrible spray-on tan etc, all these things do not make a future main-eventer. Heck he won't even be winning the mid-tier championships with this gimmick (necessitating the creation of his own Internet title). But all this is missing the point. Ryder knows this gimmick is not meant for the kind of glory and recognition above. But he's taking the idea and running with it, milking it for what its worth. Everyone has to pay their dues in this business first. Look at The Rock. He debuted with fancy tassels dangling off him. And Edge, he was a vampire, and then an utter goofball with Christian, albeit quite successful in the tag-realm. These superstars didn't start as superstars, they had some goofy gimmick to begin with. Remember how (Deacon) Batista started? So I reiterate, Ryder is paying is dues by being a hard worker in spite of his silly character, and actually trying to be a success because of his silly character.
Next, look closely at Ryder's use of catchphrases:
-The like me on Facebook, follow me on twitter spiel
-Woo Woo Woo, You Know It
-His 'call-me' handsign
-and Are You Serious Bro?
Corny and lame as these may be, they suit his character perfectly. And giving the catchphrases exposure gives his character something for people to identify with. Something to recall and chant along too if they so wish. Again, I'll back this up with examples. Hulk Hogan had his whole finger pointin, crowd popping thing. Y2J had his awfully inane lines like "Never...everrrrr" but they suited his arrogant character. The Rock had a ton of gold lines and actions, best used to further his tweener character. Cena's moves appealed when he had the rapper character, and continue to appeal to young kids today. If you do something long enough, people will remember it and this predictability and familiarity with a character helps one get over with the fans.
My point being, when Ryder does his schtick on his show or on TV, I find myself being drawn to suspend disbelief, immerse myself into the show and chant along, even though the "reality" part of my mind knows its quite lame. But isn't this whole suspension of disbelief thing part and parcel of wrestling, even a fundamental requirement? Who didn't mark out in Hogan's prime when he dropped the leg drop? We knew it didn't hurt, but we bought into the idea that it was supposed to hurt. Same for the People's Elbow, which looked even less hurtful than the leg drop, but we bought into it anyway because the Rock had the whole character to go along with it.
So, Zack Ryder is actively developing a character, with the assorted lines and moves that make people care about the character. That alone is much better than WWE is doing with most characters, dropping superstars into the ring and hoping that the can somehow generate a connection with the crowd. Basic storytelling, create a compelling character, and even if its not realistic or rational, make it interesting enough so that people buy into the story. After all, we know wrestling is staged, so when we watch it we want to be entertained, and Zack Ryder is slowly building up a good base of skills for that.
Thanks for reading!